Wednesday, May 24, 2017

USA, West Virginia: A Geothermal Resource Can be Mined Under this Appalachian State

Renewable Energy Provides More Options for Mountain State (The Exponent Telegram)

From coal to natural gas, Appalachia has been the backbone of America’s energy production for nearly two centuries. Now, energy experts are trying to work with renewable resources to make more efficient use of that energy.

The Public Service Commission of West Virginia estimates roughly 16.6 percent of the state’s energy stems from renewable resources. While that may be a small percentage of the state’s total energy generated, renewable resources are helping all forms of energy become more efficient, officials say.

Though not yet widely used in West Virginia, there is a great source of geothermal energy sitting under the Mountain State. While examining previously overlooked oil and gas data, researchers at Southern Methodist University in Dallas recently found several hot patches of earth, some as hot as 200 degrees Celsius, that sit only 5 kilometers under the surface of the Mountain State.

“We were aware that there were hot springs along the faults in West Virginia, and there was a basic understanding that there could be some sort of higher elevated areas, but we had never had the resources to be able to go back out and look at the deeper data until we had this project from Google that allowed us to bring in the oil and gas data,” said Maria Richards, geothermal lab coordinator at SMU.